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October 20, 2015
BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON AND THE FLORIDA CENTER FOR CYBERSECURITY SHARE EXCLUSIVE INSIGHTS FROM INVITE-ONLY EXERCISE FOR SENIOR PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR OFFICIALS
McLean, VA — As cyber security breaches continue to make headlines, Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE:BAH) and the universities that are served by the new Florida Center for Cybersecurity (FC2) [www.thefc2.org] are giving senior leaders the means to shift the balance of power back in their favor. On Oct. 13, during the height of national Cyber Security Awareness Month, Booz Allen and the FC2 held a cyber security “wargame” simulation for senior officials in the public and private sectors at the University of South Florida, the ‘home’ of the Florida Center.
With more than 60 senior leaders from government, the military, academia, and private industry playing the game, one finding was clear: cybersecurity has changed from a ‘backroom’ issue where IT and cybersecurity professionals protect an organization’s networks and data to an area of strategic responsibility for the C-Suite and the boardroom. Among the lessons learned: leaders must be concerned about impacts more broadly than just IT; strong internal communications are essential; and coordination with government officials and others in industry is critical.
By invitation only, the FC2 wargame educated senior leaders (especially those with non-IT responsibilities) on the strategic threats and risks associated with cybersecurity. Based on “lessons learned” from hundreds of real-world cyber incidents, it required participants to play fictional roles as teams of company officials in Financial Services, Healthcare, Retail, and Technology sectors, as well as those in Critical Infrastructure industries (like power companies, etc.). During the game, participants took on the roles of Chief Information Security Officers, Chief Risk Officers, Directors of Operations, Public Relations or Human Resources, General Counsels, and other positions critical to responding to a significant, multi-dimensional cyber breach drawn straight from today’s headlines.
In addition to helping senior leaders become acutely aware of the cyber threats to their organizations and giving them some life-like practice actually responding to those threats, the wargame also underscored key lessons that help organizations more effectively prepare and respond to cyber breach incidents:
These observations are consistent with many of the critical priorities for advancing cyber security awareness and prevention capabilities that Booz Allen has centered its Cyber Security Awareness Month efforts around. Dr. Ron Sanders, former US Intelligence Community Associate Director of National Intelligence, and current Booz Allen Vice President, helped to facilitate the wargame and observed that “a cyber-attack can threaten the very existence of an organization, yet many C-Suite officers leave the response to an attack to their technical experts. We’ve found—and the wargame we just completed at USF underscored this—that senior leaders need to be much more ‘cyber-aware’ as they make business decisions, and even more importantly, when an attack comes, they need to better understand the strategic business implications of their response options. Ultimately, this can be as or even more critical than the organization’s technical response to an attack.”
Vice Admiral Mike McConnell (USN, retired), the former Director of National Intelligence as well as the former Director of the National Security Agency, and current Booz Allen Hamilton Senior Executive Advisor, also helped to facilitate the wargame. Mr. McConnell has observed dozens of wargame exercises, and has managed real-world incident response events. He noted: “These exercises are invaluable for senior executives because they not only simulate the multi-faceted, complex dimensions of a cybersecurity crisis but also the unprecedented speed at which these incidents occur,” said McConnell. “Simply put, practice makes perfect in this new landscape.”
Booz Allen has conducted more than 50 cyber wargames and exercises since 2010.
Sri Sridharan, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer of FC2 expressed appreciation to Booz Allen Hamilton and shared these observations: “Offering this wargame exercise as part of our cybersecurity conference gave us an opportunity to immerse participants in a realistic crisis that tested their abilities to think strategically and act quickly. For the players, the dynamics of the exercise forced them to formulate a plan, adjust quickly, and think about strategies, outcomes and leadership roles when dealing with crisis. For many, it was a high-stress and eye-opening experience that will likely impact how they react when faced with a real crisis. We can’t thank Booz Allen Hamilton enough for facilitating this exercise.”
To learn more or participate in an upcoming Booz Allen Cyber wargame contact Nicole Monteforte 703-377-0823, [email protected].
Booz Allen and the FC2 are jointly creating an official after-action report of this wargame that includes more key observations and analysis of how wargame exercises like these help to prepare senior leaders for cyber incidents. To learn more or receive a copy of the report contact, Nicole Monteforte 703-377-0823, [email protected].
About Booz Allen
For more than 100 years, military, government, and business leaders have turned to Booz Allen Hamilton to solve their most complex problems. As a consulting firm with experts in analytics, digital, engineering, and cyber, we help organizations transform. We are a key partner on some of the most innovative programs for governments worldwide and trusted by their most sensitive agencies. We work shoulder to shoulder with clients, using a mission-first approach to choose the right strategy and technology to help them realize their vision. With global headquarters in McLean, Virginia and more than 80 offices worldwide, our firm employs more than 26,100 people and had revenue of $6.7 billion for the 12 months ending March 31, 2019. To learn more, visit BoozAllen.com. (NYSE: BAH)
The Florida Center for Cybersecurity (FC2) is a statewide resource for cybersecurity education, outreach and innovative, interdisciplinary research. The Center fosters collaboration between diverse stakeholders and it serves as a centralized clearinghouse for partners in academia, government, defense and industry to share knowledge, resources and best practices to mitigate cybersecurity threats, capitalize on opportunities and develop new solutions. Located on the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida, FC2 supports the development of a talented workforce, encourages new research and creative collaborations, and positions Florida as a national leader in cybersecurity. To learn more, visit: www.thefc2.org.